Orchestrated case vs underworld clampdown – unpacking the Modack extortion matter

2018-01-24 21:57
From left: Police officers Sergeant Edward Edwardes, Colonel Charl Kinnear and Major-General Jeremy Vearey, involved in investigating the extortion case focusing on Nafiz Modack, leave the Cape Town Magistrate's Court. (Caryn Dolley, News24)

From left: Police officers Sergeant Edward Edwardes, Colonel Charl Kinnear and Major-General Jeremy Vearey, involved in investigating the extortion case focusing on Nafiz Modack, leave the Cape Town Magistrate's Court. (Caryn Dolley, News24)

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Cape Town – The extortion case against suspected underworld kingpin Nafiz Modack has laid bare serious claims of police corruption and allegations of a high-level smear campaign against the accused in the matter.

Apparent smear tactics to try and tarnish the names of a senior Western Cape police officer, which have been publicised before, have also resurfaced.

And it has been alleged in court that Major-General Jeremy Vearey, the head of the Cape Town cluster of police who was instrumental in Modack's arrest, made a shooting motion at an accused in the extortion case in the holding cells beneath the Cape Town Magistrate's Court. 

The 2002 suspension of the investigating officer in the case, Charl Kinnear, was also focused on – it emerged he was suspended due to false kidnapping allegations. 

Modack is accused of extortion and intimidation alongside Colin Booysen – the brother of alleged Sexy Boys gang boss Jerome Booysen – Jacques Cronje, Ashley Fields and Carl Lakay.

They face charges relating to an alleged takeover of security operations at nightclubs and restaurants, forcing owners to pay them.

For a detailed breakdown on what has been happening in the underworld nightclub security takeover, see News24's showcase Underworld Unmasked

The group was arrested on December 15 and shortly afterwards lodged an application to be released on bail.

During this application Kinnear, who has so far been the only State witness called, testified that Modack and his co-accused were viewed as a new faction taking over nightclub security from an older faction.

This older faction, he said, included Jerome Booysen, as well as controversial businessmen Mark Lifman and Andre Naude.

In the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Wednesday attorney Bruce Hendricks, who represents Colin Booysen, alleged that Lifman was controlling certain police officers and was influencing the case.

READ: Mark Lifman controls the police, attorney alleges in court

However, Kinnear has remained steadfast in his testimony that Modack and his co-accused were arrested because they took over security at nightclubs and restaurants around Cape Town by instilling fear in those they targeted.

He has also testified that the actions of certain police officers appear to have been in Modack's favour.

Different versions

Two versions of what allegedly transpired have emerged – one from those defending the accused and another which has emerged via Kinnear's testimony.

The one version is that the case has actually been orchestrated by Lifman and is a platform on which police corruption is being exposed, while the second version is that police officers are being painted as corrupt for doing their jobs and making high-profile arrests.

On Wednesday, while cross-examining Kinnear, Hendricks said "something untoward" was happening in the case.

He said the case was actually about corrupt police officers.

READ: Cops and corruption claims: Police 'tensions' emerge in Modack extortion case

It previously emerged during the bail application that Modack had ties to, among others, Major-General Patrick Mbotho, a provincial head of detectives.

Hendricks on Wednesday asked Kinnear if it was correct that Modack had ties to Mbotho.

Kinnear confirmed this.

Hendricks then asked Kinnear if he was aware that Mbotho was investigating Vearey, to which Kinnear responded that he was not aware.

Murder claim against top cop

Vearey, Hendricks said, was implicated in a murder in a statement made by Sylvano Hendricks, a transgender woman who calls herself Queeny Madikizela-Malema, to community safety MEC Dan Plato.

This murder was that of Nathaniel Moses, the leader of a faction of the 28s gang called The Mobsters, who was fatally shot on Main Road, Strand, on January 15, 2016.

In March 2017 Vearey told News24 that senior officers in the Western Cape were working against him and effectively trying to frame him for setting up Moses' murder.

Kinnear on Wednesday testified that he was aware of this allegation against Vearey and that Vearey was not among those to be arrested in the case.

Hendricks pointed out that there were several allegations against Vearey, including that Vearey had received money from alleged 28s gang boss Ralph Stanfield.

Kinnear said this was false.

"There have been allegations against Vearey and every single gang," he said.

But Hendricks said the accused in the case were experiencing the same, in that false allegations were being made against them.

"It's a smear campaign," he said.

'Senior police officer made gun motion at accused'

Hendricks said Booysen had told him that in the holding cells at one point, Vearey had told him that he was a former uMkhonto weSizwe member and that if Booysen threatened his captains, he would do what he had to in order to protect them.

Vearey, Hendricks said, had then held out a hand "making a shooting motion".

Hendricks on Wednesday also focused on Kinnear's background.

He asked Kinnear about his suspension 16 years ago.

Kinnear said he was suspended in 2002 after arresting someone for an incident in Sea Point in which someone was murdered.

Investigator suspended for 'false kidnapping case'

"I arrested a Nigerian citizen, he gave a statement... he later opened up a docket saying we kidnapped him," Kinnear testified.

He was then suspended. This was later lifted after it was found that the kidnapping allegation was false.

Hendricks questioned Kinnear on why he had previously testified about Advocate Pete Mihalik.

In December, Kinnear had said that following an auction in Parow in March, at which Lifman was present, there had been an altercation and a man's firearm was stolen. 

Kinnear testified that this firearm ended up in the offices of Mihalik and that Mihalik asked Naude to give him R20 000 in exchange for the gun which could then be given to its owner.

Kinnear said Brian Wainstein had paid the R20 000 for the gun, which was then returned.

News24 previously reported that Wainstein was a convicted international steroid smuggler who was murdered in his Constantia home in August.

Steroid smuggler's murder 'convenient'

On Wednesday, while questioning Kinnear on this testimony, Hendricks said: "Brian Wainstein conveniently is dead".

This, he said, meant no one would be able to question him on what had happened with the firearm.

Hendricks put it to Kinnear that he had testified about Mihalik as Mihalik was "a problem" and Kinnear wanted him off the case.

He said when Mihalik had previously been present in court for the case, no one had pointed out to him that it could be a conflict of interest.

Kinnear also previously testified that while in police custody in Langa following his arrest, Modack had apparently used Hendricks' cellphone to SMS a security guard at The Grand, the establishment in Granger Bay which he allegedly extorted, to say there had been no extortion or threats against anyone.

The security guard had told this to Kinnear.

SMS dispute

Hendricks on Wednesday said what Kinnear had therefore testified about was "unsubstantiated evidence".

"That's exactly the problem I have with this case," he said.

Hendricks offered to provide Kinnear with his cellphone records which, he said, would show that on the day the SMS was allegedly sent from his cellphone, only one SMS had been sent from it and it was to no one linked to the case.

The bail application is expected to continue on Friday.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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